Yemisi Aribisala (born 27 April 1973) is a Nigerian essayist, writer, painter, and food memoirist. She has been described as having a "fearless, witty, and unapologetic voice"[1] Her work has been featured in The New Yorker, Vogue magazine, Chimurenga, Popula, Google Arts & Culture, The Johannesburg Review of Books, Critical Muslim 26: Gastronomy, Sandwich Magazine (The African Scramble), The Guardian (UK), Aké Review, and Olongo Africa.[citation needed]

Yemisi Aribisala
Yẹ́misí Aríbisálà

(1973-04-27)27 April 1973
Other namesYẹ́misí Ogbe
EducationUniversity of Wolverhampton, University of Wales

Aribisala is renowned for her work in documenting Nigerian food as an entry point to thinking and understanding the culture and society. Her first book, Longthroat Memoirs: Soups, Sex, and the Nigerian Taste Buds, won the John Avery Prize at the André Simon Book Awards 2016.[2][3] Her work has also appeared in New Daughters of Africa: An International Anthology of Writing by Women of African Descent (edited by Margaret Busby);[4] In the Kitchen: Essays on Food and Life, and The Best American Food Writing 2019 (edited by Samin Nosrat).[5]

Aribisala currently lives in London, United Kingdom.[citation needed]

Life and career edit

Aribisala attended the University of Wolverhampton, England, where she obtained a law degree in 1995. She subsequently earned a master's degree in Legal Aspects of Maritime Affairs and International Transport from the University of Wales, Cardiff,[6] in 1997.

Writing edit

She was the founding editor of the trailblazing Nigerian literary and culture publication Farafina Magazine.[7]

From 2009 to 2011, she was the food columnist at the now-defunct, groundbreaking 234Next newspaper, where she first gained public attention, writing under the name "Yẹ́misí Ogbe".[6] She regularly contributes to literary publications, including the Chimurenga Chronicle, the avant-garde culture newspaper.

Works edit

Longthroat Memoirs edit

On 31 October 2016, Aribisala's debut book of essays was published in Nigeria by Cassava Republic Press.[6] It was titled Longthroat Memoirs: Soups, Sex, and the Nigerian Taste Buds, a collection of essays exploring "the cultural politics and erotics of Nigerian cuisine".[8] It has been well received, being shortlisted for an André Simon Food and Drink Book Award and winning the John Avery Award.[9]

Of her work the following has been said: "It is difficult to translate senses through words, but Aribisala manages to communicate the tastes, tickles and aromas of various African spices and ingredients wonderfully."[10] The book has been described as "part straight cookbook, part cultural history, part travelogue, part intimate confessional, it's as complex and mysterious as one of the Nigerian soups Aribisala describes so evocatively in its pages"[11] and a work "that carries the weight of so much cultural and literary burden, and manages to discharge it with grace and style."[12] "[S]he joins thinkers like Chinua Achebe in rejecting the stereotype of the African writer as a mere storyteller, not a thinker."[13]

She has been compared to writers such as Aminatta Forna and Binyavanga Wainaina who "play with the ontology of the 21st century African memoir, and oscillate between the deeply personal and the distinctly political"; a book that is a "mouth-watering appraisal of the cultural politics and erotics of Nigerian cuisine".[14] The pages [of her book] sing with her clever, beautiful prose and sharp eye.[15] It is a work "redolent with spice, rippling with humour and sexual innuendo, her memoirs conjure up fantasies that can only be satisfied by reading another chapter."[16]

The cover image was designed by UK-based artist Lynn Hatzius, who said that her intention with the cover artwork was "to show how food culture is an ingrained part of us... I wanted the cover image to convey the joy of this and to invite the reader into Yemisi Aribisala's own celebration of food."[17]

Prizes and honours edit

"The pestle and mortar, tools of subjugation? Not by any stretch of the cultural imagination."[18]

In January 2017, Aribisala's debut book Longthroat Memoirs won the John Avery Prize at the André Simon Book Awards 2016.[2][3]

In March 2017, Aribisala was listed as one of the 100 inspiring women in Nigeria in 2017.[19]

On 13 February 2018, Longthroat Memoirs: Soups Sex & Nigerian Taste Buds was shortlisted for the 2018 Art of Eating Prize.

In the May 2018 Gourmand World Cookbook Awards, Longthroat Memoirs: Soups Sex & Nigerian Taste Buds won second place in the category of Best in the World in African Cuisine.[20]

Selected writings edit

  • "Boy in a Gèlè" (February 2021),[21] in OlongoAfrica
  • The Beauty and Burden of Being a Nigerian Bride (September 2019),[22] in The New Yorker
  • "The Girls Who Fainted at the Sight of an Egg" (January 2018),[23] in The New Yorker
  • "Sister Outsider" (April 2016),[24] at The Chimurenga Chronic
  • "Nigeria's New Feminism – Say-You-Are-One-Of-Us-Or-Else" (October 2016),[25] at KTravula
  • "Mother Hunger" (November 2015),[26] on Medium
  • "Fish Soup as Love Potions" (March 2013),[27] at The Chimurenga Chronic
  • "Nollywood Kiss"[28] (2011) at The Chimurenga Chronic
  • "Giving It All Away in English" (March 2015)[29] at The Chimurenga Chronic
  • "High Heeled Fork" (December 2015)[30] on Medium
  • "Birthing The American" (December 2013),[31] at The Chimurenga Chronic
  • "Nigeria's Superstar Men of God" (April 2013)[32] at The Chimurenga Chronic
  • "Nigeria and a Culture of Disrespect" (August 2012),[33] at Ikhide Ikheloa's blog
  • "That Guy No Be Ordinary" (April 2016),[34] at Chimurenga Chronic

Notable interviews/excerpts/reviews edit

References edit

  1. ^ Manyika, Sarah Ladipo. "Sarah Ladipo Manyika's Seven Bold And New International Voices". Vela. Retrieved 21 December 2016.
  2. ^ a b Machunga, Saminu (26 January 2017). "Yemisi Aribisala becomes first black African to win John Avery award". TheCable Lifestyle. Retrieved 31 January 2017.
  3. ^ a b "2015 Andre Simon Book Awards – the annual awards for food and drink books". Retrieved 21 December 2016.
  4. ^ Hubbard, Ladee (10 May 2019). "Power to define yourself | The diaspora of female black voices". TLS. Retrieved 20 July 2021.
  5. ^ "The Best American Food Writing 2019". Publishers Weekly. 8 November 2019.
  6. ^ a b c d Tubosun, Kola (20 February 2017). "'My repression is as legitimate as your freedom': A Conversation with Yẹ́misí Aríbisálà". Retrieved 2 March 2017.
  7. ^ Ikheloa, Ikhide R. (5 February 2017). "Nigeria is not a country: Of ogbono, snails, sex, eccles, and hell's longing". Pa Ikhide. Retrieved 20 July 2021.
  8. ^ Fick, Maggie (27 November 2016). "Publisher's expansion brings Nigerian writers to world stage". Financial Times. Retrieved 21 December 2016.
  9. ^ Obi-Young, Otosirieze (6 February 2017). "Yemisi Aribisala's John Avery Award Win Puts African Food Writing on World Map". Brittle Paper. Retrieved 20 July 2021.
  10. ^ Stier, Jordan (30 October 2015). "Reading like a writer: An annotated reading list". Stier of the Nation. Retrieved 21 December 2016.
  11. ^ "In Praise of Longthroat Memoirs: Meeting the Person of Nigerian Food – Marta Maretich". Retrieved 21 December 2016.
  12. ^ "A Book for the Tasting – Village Factor". Retrieved 31 January 2017.
  13. ^ Pa Ikhide (5 February 2017). "Nigeria is not a country: Of ogbono, snails, sex, eccles, and hell's longing". Ikhide. Retrieved 6 February 2017.
  14. ^ Goyal, Sana (17 February 2017). "Africa, not a single story". Retrieved 18 February 2017.
  15. ^ Quinn, Sue (12 February 2017). "Longthroat Memoirs: Soups, Sex and Nigerian Taste Buds". Pen & Spoon. Retrieved 18 February 2017.
  16. ^ Morrow, Madeleine (11 May 2017). "BOOK REVIEW: Hearty and hilarious taste of Nigerian life". BusinessDay. Retrieved 5 June 2017.
  17. ^ Caine, Banke (28 October 2016). "Yemisi Aribisala's 'Longthroat Memoirs' A Book About Soups, Sex And Nigerian Taste Buds". Farabale Weekly. Retrieved 21 December 2016.
  18. ^ "How to Wear a Kitchen | The Chimurenga Chronic". Retrieved 7 May 2017.
  19. ^ "Amina Mohammed, Mo Abudu, Somkele Idhalama & more! and Leading Ladies Africa present the 100 most inspiring women in Nigeria". YNaija. 8 March 2017. Retrieved 10 March 2017.
  20. ^ Murua, James (1 June 2018). "Gourmand World Cookbook Awards 2018 winners announced". James Murua Literary Blog. Retrieved 20 July 2021.
  21. ^ Aribisala, Yemisi (3 February 2021). "Boy in a Gèlè". Olongo Africa. Retrieved 20 February 2021.
  22. ^ Aribisala, Yemisi. "The Beauty and Burden of Being a Nigerian Bride". The New Yorker. Retrieved 20 February 2021.
  23. ^ Aribisala, Yemisi (2 January 2018). "The Girls Who Fainted at the Sight of an Egg". The New Yorker. ISSN 0028-792X. Retrieved 2 January 2018.
  24. ^ Aribisala, Yemisi. "Sister Outsider | The Chimurenga Chronic". Retrieved 10 March 2017.
  25. ^ Aríbisálà, Yẹ́misí (13 October 2016). "Nigeria's New Feminism – Say-You-Are-One-Of-Us-Or-Else". ktravula – a travelogue!. Retrieved 21 December 2016.
  26. ^ Aribisala, Yemisi (7 November 2015). "Mother Hunger". Medium. Retrieved 21 December 2016.
  27. ^ Aribisala, Yemisi (1 March 2013). "Fish Soup As Love Potions | The Chimurenga Chronic". Retrieved 21 December 2016.
  28. ^ "Nollywood Kiss". PowerMoneySex. 11 June 2012. Retrieved 18 February 2017.
  29. ^ "Giving It All Away in English | The Chimurenga Chronic". Retrieved 21 December 2016.
  30. ^ Aribisala, Yemisi (15 December 2015). "High Heeled Fork – General Writing: Idea, Thinking, Opinion". Medium. Retrieved 21 December 2016.
  31. ^ Aribisala, Yemisi (20 December 2013). "Birthing the American | The Chimurenga Chronic". Retrieved 21 December 2016.
  32. ^ Aribisala, Yemisi. "Nigeria's Superstar Men of God | The Chimurenga Chronic". Retrieved 21 December 2016.
  33. ^ "Guest Blog: Yemisi Ogbe on Nigeria and a culture of disrespect". Ikhide. 23 August 2012. Retrieved 21 December 2016.
  34. ^ "'That Guy No Be Ordinary' | The Chimurenga Chronic". Retrieved 21 December 2016.
  35. ^ Aribisala, Yemisi (4 February 2017). "'People try to squeeze Nigerian food into an all-encompassing African label'". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 10 March 2017.
  36. ^ "The Gannet Q&A: Yemisi Aribisala". The Gannet. 16 March 2017. Retrieved 16 March 2017.
  37. ^ Smith, Lauren (19 April 2017). "'Words move more deliberately than visual images.' An Interview with Yemisi Aribisala". Short Story Day Africa. Retrieved 4 May 2017.
  38. ^ Adesokan, Akin. "Calabar Winch | The Chimurenga Chronic". Retrieved 6 April 2017.
  39. ^ "A Book for the Tasting". Village Factor. 21 January 2017. Retrieved 6 April 2017.